As a Mompreneur with a home office, you live a millimeter from the sky crashing and landing a cesspool of kids’ schoolwork, art projects, household paperwork, extra batteries, magazines, and toys… all on your desk. Often, very few items in the home office of a Mompreneur have anything to do with her actual business.
Here are a few tips to get you going in the right direction:
1) Sort over the recycle bin. Reduce your paper intake by 50-75%, on average, by making an immediate decision about papers every time you walk in the house with them. Go through your children’s school work, mail, and any papers you had in your car from the day. Make three piles: scrapbook, action required, review and toss/file.
2) Find a place. Everything needs to have its own place in your home office for it to stay organized. To do this, you will need to sort your home office goods into three categories: Every day use (goes on your desk), Weekly use (goes near to your desk), and Monthly use (goes into short-term storage, such as a closet). Items that are used less frequently than monthly should be evaluated. Important papers such as tax returns, receipts, and contracts should be stored in a cool, dry place for as long as you might need to reference them. Taxes, for example, should be kept for 7 years. Contracts should be kept through the life of the contract, plus an additional 7 years or whatever the statute of limitations is in your state for breach of contract and other professional liabilities.
3) Establish boundaries. Your home office should be off-limits to your children. By accomplishing this, the items in your office will remain exactly as you leave them, and your children will not be exposed to dangerous items such as paper cutters, scissors, staplers, electrical items and letter openers. Additionally, your important paperwork will remain intact and your home office will stay organized. It can be difficult to enforce this, however; it is vital to the success of your business that you establish a safe place for you to think, relax, create, and grow your business.
Many working moms and mompreneurs carry a tremendous sense of guilt for wanting to work and not be a full-time mom, so adding boundaries to the list may come as a complete system shock. Consider, for one moment, why people have boundaries. People have boundaries to maintain their sense of self. When a woman welcomes a child into the world as her own, society tells her that she must become a doormat and put herself last. To a certain extent, that’s true. Children deserve a mother’s best effort and her unconditional love. Having said that, would you let your child play with your best set of earrings or an heirloom that had been in your family for generations? Would you let your child run with a pencil in his mouth? No, you wouldn’t do those things. Those choices are clear: stuff is valuable and danger is imminent. Here’s a paradigm shift: your sense of self is valuable and it is dangerous for your child to be allowed to learn not to respect the boundaries of others. Children who see Mommy respect herself and her home office learn that 1) work is something that should be taken seriously and treated with respect; 2) it’s ok to need some time to your self – you are important.
Organizing your home office can bring about some life changes in your family, however; accomplishing the task can be very rewarding and make your work more enjoyable and productive.